Welcome back to Design Insider’s Boutique Hotel Series! This month, we are thrilled to welcome The Idle Rocks hotel which is situated in the charming location of Cornwall.

The hotel established itself as a luxurious coastal getaway in the 1930s which has continued to the present day. In 2010, The Idle Rocks was purchased by David and Karen Richards who opened it’s doors officially on the 1st of July 2013.

The hotel has been at the heart of the community for the last 100 years, it seems that the hotel has adopted a type of culture which is unique and followed by fellow locals. The Idle Rocks have sustainability at the very centre of their ethos; from sourcing local produce, minimising their carbon footprint and respecting the fascinating, diverse Cornish environment. The hotel’s objectives are to: diminish food waste, develop local and sustainable food production and maintain biodiversity.

Furthermore, The Idle Rocks have been noticed and rewarded for its exceptional food at its restaurant, dating back to the 1930s. In the 1930s, the hotel management decided to increase the quality of the cuisine, initially serving French cuisine with genuine French chefs which worked out a treat as they received a 2AA rosettes for culinary achievement.

Since then, the hotel’s kitchen has continued to achieve success. In 2017, The Idle Rocks won Best Hotel Restaurant (Cornwall Life Food & Drink Awards 2017), Chef of Year (Cornwall Life Food & Drinks Awards 2017), Best Restaurant (Trencherman’s Awards 2018), Seafood Restaurant of the year (2018) and Best Dine & Stay Experience (Trencherman’s Awards 2018).

The awards speak for themselves but guests will tell you that the restaurant and waterside terrace is not to be missed. Flavour, texture and presentation all play an integral part in creating the perfect dish. Whilst you sit and relax in the scenic setting of the waterside terrace or inside the wonderful restaurant, the staff will be working hard sourcing and preparing the food. The restaurant is open for breakfast, light lunch and dinner with dining outside at every opportunity. The menu is available here.

The Idle Rocks have also appointed a new head chef, Dorian Jamaat who has promised a new, exciting culinary future at The Idle Rocks. The award-winning chef returns to his home county following eight years honing his craft at Raymond Blanc’s 2 Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The hotel owner comments:

“We believe that there is a real appetite for food produced from the finest local ingredients, and in Cornwall we have the finest produce anywhere. We are excited to have the brilliance of Dorian in our kitchen who can turn them into incredible dishes for our guests.”

Moreover, the hotel offers five types of rooms, all individually designed to create the ultimate comfort and luxury with each room having its own captivating style.

Pick one of the five; The Village Hideaway – providing village views and romantic interior, The Family Room, Harbour View Rooms – overseeing spectacular views, the Seaview rooms – generously proportioned with spectacular views over the water and lastly, the Grand Seaview rooms which are the most luxurious.

Design Insider sits down with Karen Richards to find out more about this fantastic boutique hotel…

Please could you tell us about the history of your Restaurant & Waterside Terrace?

The Idle Rocks has been part of the community of St Mawes since 1913 when it was built on the site of the old local bakery. In the 1930s the hotel started attracting attention to itself as a luxury coastal hotel during the years before the Second World War. The town of St Mawes was sold to the public as a British version of St Tropez on the riviera. In the 1960s The Idle Rocks boat slipway was removed, and the terrace extended along the entire front of the building.

During the 1970s and 1980s the hotel underwent refurbishments, including the development of a new extension wing, with six bedrooms and a refurbishment of the restaurant. Now over 100 years old, we have given the luxury coastal hotel a full and dramatic refurbishment, restoring it to its former glory of Cornish coastal luxury.

Who are the key diners at your Restaurant & Waterside Terrace?

The Idle Rocks is a home away from home and is the perfect place for anyone who enjoys good food and good hospitality, to kick off their shoes and relax . Previously voted by The Times as one of the Top 20 places to eat by the sea, dining at The Idle Rocks is an experience not to be missed.

Who designed the interior of the Restaurant & Waterside Terrace and what was their design inspiration?

It was my design project. I had a year to reinvent the hotel. Designing the new concept was hugely satisfying for me . I love fabrics and mixing vintage pieces with modern. I had great enjoyment choosing everything for the hotel. The Idle Rocks is a fusion of contemporary design and relaxed coastal style, reflecting my personal identity . I tried to create cosy areas for guests to nestle in and feel at home, including the sitting room with its log fire and bookcases.

Each room is individually designed to reflect the ultimate beauty in waterside comfort and luxury. Most rooms enjoy a wonderful sea view and a number of the bedrooms have window seats where guests can look out over the harbour, with the view influencing the interiors through the use of colour and natural light.

In what ways is your restaurant important to the success of your boutique hotel?

When we bought the building in 2010 our aim was to create a hotel that was young, fresh and relaxing. The restaurant offers the perfect balance between being a place to relax whilst enjoying a memorable culinary experience at the same time. Our Head Chef, Dorian Janmaat, creates menus to reflect the hotel’s ethos of re-engaging with the simple pleasures in life. His focus is on sustainability and promoting local businesses, from using the local fisherman to source the finest lobsters to the best local armer growing the finest vegetables

Has the hotel got any plans for any new refurbishments?

The hotel is constantly being refurbished with the addition of new fabrics and furnishing, including cushions and lamps, reflecting my taste. Similarly, Dorian is constantly introducing new dishes on the menu at the hotel restaurant, reflective of the season and the local produce available. The major renovation project for the year is to turn one of the bedrooms into a spa treatment room this winter. This will offer an additional service at the hotel.

It has been great getting to know more about The Idle Rocks and we are keen for our readers to get involved in this series. Let us know your thoughts and experiences by contacting or contacting us through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.


About Jess Mockler

Jess is a Marketing & Event professional who joined the BCFA as a Marketing Executive in 2019. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Jess has published an array of content for the Commercial sector.
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